In New Jersey, if you interfere with a law enforcement officer in the performance of his or her duty, or if you refuse to cooperate, you can face criminal charges, from resisting arrest to obstruction of justice to hindering. Unfortunately, because of the subjective nature of the offense, you can often be charged with resisting arrest or obstruction of justice if the arresting officer doesn't like you or feels threatened in any way.
Under N.J.S.A. 2C:29-2, it is a disorderly persons offense if you intentionally prevent or try to prevent a police officer from making an arrest. The seriousness of the office depends on:
- whether you tried to flee the scene-if so, you will be charged with a 4th degree offense of resisting arrest
- whether you used or threatened to use violence or force against anyone in an attempt to avoid arrest-if so, you will be charged with a third degree offense
- whether you engaged in behavior that created a substantial risk of physical injury to another person-again, grounds for a charge of third degree resisting arrest
OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
N.J.S.A. 2C:29-1 addresses the obstruction of justice, making it illegal to intentionally "obstruct, impair or pervert the administration of law or other government function. You can also be charged with obstruction of justice for interfering with or attempting to prevent a public official from performing his or her duty. The New Jersey courts have found a wide range of activities to constitute obstruction of justice, including providing false information to a police officer, impersonating a law enforcement officer, and tampering with evidence or witnesses.
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:29-3, you can be prosecuted for hindering if you engage in one of a number of prohibited activities in an attempt to delay or impede detention, investigation, apprehension, prosecution, conviction or punishment of another person. This can include harboring a fugitive, as well as providing resources to a person charged with a crime with the intent that they will avoid discovery or make an escape. Hindering may also include:
- Providing false information
- Warning a fugitive of impending discovery or apprehension
- Interfering with the actual apprehension of a suspect
- Suppressing or concealing evidence, including documents and other forms of information
CONTACT THE CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS AT MALLON & TRANGER
Our attorneys provide a free initial consultation to people who have been arrested or charged with a crime. Contact us online or call our office at 732-702-0333 for an appointment. We have locations in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.